There was no treasure that was more important than raising one's own cultivation realm. If Zhang Xuan could help her push for a breakthrough to the Grand Dominion realm right now, even if she were to give the Wintry Spirit Essence straight to the other party, she would still have won big-time.

"Good!" Zhang Xuan smiled in delight.

He was just about to get Chen Leyao to execute a punching routine so that he could offer her some pointers when he suddenly heard a voice.

"Brother Zhang!"

Zhang Xuan turned around and saw a young man standing not too far away from him.

"Zhang Zhuo?" Zhang Xuan frowned.

The other party was none other than Zhang Yunfeng's cousin, the person ranked 31st place in the entrance examination.

"Just as I said yesterday, I am interested in testing out Brother Zhang. Since it's a free interaction time right now, I would like to invite you to a duel!" Zhang Zhuo clasped his fist respectfully.

He showed no hint of arrogance due to his identity as an offspring of the Zhang Clan.

"Free interaction time?" Zhang Xuan took a quick glance at his surroundings and saw that while he was chatting with Chen Leyao, Fei shi had already stopped talking to allow the students to familiarize themselves with one another.

As geniuses of the Sanctum of Sages, they spoke not only through words but their capabilities as well. As such, there was quite a number of people who had come to blows with one another.

"This…" Zhang Xuan frowned.

In truth, Zhang Zhuo's challenge meant nothing much to him. Even if he was ranked 31st place in the entrance examination, it would not take Zhang Xuan too much to defeat him.

However…

He had depleted all of his zhenqi after executing the Sea Severing Sword twice in the Corridor of Puppets, and while he had managed to recover a bit of his strength since then, he was still in no state to fight against a cultivator of Zhang Zhuo's caliber.

"What? Is Brother Zhang unwilling to face me in a battle?" Zhang Zhuo narrowed his eyes playfully.

Considering how many freshmen had been watching in the square yesterday, it would have been bad to his reputation if the offspring of the Zhang Clan kept challenging Zhang Xuan in succession.

Today, every single student of the Elite Division was around, so this was a good opportunity to suppress the other party's haughtiness. He was determined to have the other party learn that not everyone could afford to offend their Zhang Clan!

"It's just a duel; why would I be unwilling to face you in a battle? I only fear that I will fail to keep my strength in check and accidentally cripple you. It would be a pity if something like that hurts the camaraderie we have as fellow students of the Elite Division," Zhang Xuan replied calmly.

While he might have depleted his zhenqi, he still had plenty of means to deal with a mere Grand Dominion realm primary stage cultivator.


At the very worst, he would just let his clone out to bite at the other party.

Alas, that fellow was a little too aggressive and hard to control. It would be a little embarrassing if he accidentally crippled Zhang Zhuo while he was at it.

"You…" Zhang Zhuo's face darkened. Harrumphing coldly, he beckoned with his hand and said, "Since you are willing to accept my challenge, let's begin!"

After saying those words, he turned around and walked to the center of the hall.

"I guess it can't be helped then." Zhang Xuan sighed deeply as he got up and walked over as well. However, barely after he could take a step, Chen Leyao suddenly blocked the path ahead of him.

"Zhang shi, you have depleted your zhenqi, haven't you?" Chen Leyao sent a telepathic message over.

"You can tell?" Zhang Xuan was slightly taken aback.

He had not told the other party about the matter of his zhenqi running dry, and he did not think that he had showed any hint that would betray that either. Thus, he could not help but be slightly surprised to see that Chen Leyao was able to see through it.

"Your acupoints were wide open while you were talking earlier, absorbing the surrounding spiritual energy desperately to replenish your zhenqi. With just a look, it's apparent that you are suffering from severe depletion of zhenqi," Chen Leyao explained.

"How can you fight with another in the state you are currently in. Why don't I help you turn down the battle instead? Even if he's from the Zhang Clan, he should at least sell me this favor…"

Ultimately, the foundation of a cultivator lay in their zhenqi. Admittedly, experts of their level could draw on incredible strength from their physical bodies and Primordial Spirits too, but to fight without zhenqi was similar to a tiger attempting to hunt down its prey without its fangs and claws.

Zhang Xuan shook his head. "I will lose my honor and reputation if I turn down his challenge."

To be honest, he cared about nothing of that sort, but considering that the other party was from the Zhang Clan and had provoked him first… What a pity it would be if he were to let this precious opportunity to pummel the other party into the ground slip by?

"But you won't be able to fight in your current state!" Chen Leyao exclaimed.

It was not that she harbored any special feelings for the young man before her. However, just on the basis that the young man was the teacher of their young court chief, she could not allow any harm to come to him.

Otherwise, if the young court chief started assigning blame for the matter, there was no way she could take responsibility.

"This…" Zhang Xuan frowned. He knew that he could only rely on other means to resolve this situation, too, and he was actually planning on finding an opportunity to slip off for a moment to change his clothes. However, a thought suddenly came to his mind in this moment, and he asked, "Fairy Leyao… why don't you fight for me instead?"

"You want me to take your place?" Chen Leyao was stunned for a moment before hurriedly shaking her head. "The only reason I was able to get into the Elite Division is due to my secret art. As such, my fighting prowess is still lacking compared to most of the others in the Elite Division. I fear that I won't stand a chance against Zhang Zhuo!"

Her cultivation was only at Leaving Aperture realm pinnacle at the moment. In the eyes of others, she could be considered an astounding genius, but compared to Zhang Zhuo, she was still severely lacking.

If they were to clash in a real battle, the one who would fall was indubitably her.

"Who said that you don't stand a chance against Zhang Zhuo?" Zhang Xuan patted Chen Leyao's shoulder reassuring before walking up to Zhang Zhuo. "Brother Zhang, I would love to accept your challenge, but I happen to be at a crucial moment in my cultivation, so it won't be convenient for me to fight with you right now. Why don't I have Fairy Leyao fight in my place instead, and I'll offer her pointers by the side. If you are able to defeat her, I'll consider it my loss."

"Crucial moment in your cultivation?" Zhang Zhuo harrumphed coldly.

It was obvious that the other party was just finding a random excuse to turn down his challenge.

You made a breakthrough to Leaving Aperture realm before all of us yesterday; are you trying to tell us that you can still achieve a breakthrough today?

Even if you want to give an excuse, surely you can find something that's more logical than that!

If you think that you can turn down my challenge with such an excuse, you are dreaming!

The previous day, he had asked Zhang Qian and Zhang Yunfeng about the conflict they had with Zhang Xuan, and it seemed like everything had started from this Chen Leyao. Since she was intent on standing up for Zhang Xuan, he did not mind teaching her a lesson.

He knew that the young lady was far weaker than him, and if they were to really clash with one another, he would be able to defeat her easily within three moves.

"Fairy Leyao, are you sure you want to stand up for him?" Zhang Zhuo directed a cold gaze toward Chen Leyao.

"I…" Chen Leyao's eyebrows shot up.

She had only intended to dissuade Zhang Xuan from fighting in the duel, but who would have thought that she would suddenly be dragged out to fight the duel instead?

However, due to how loudly the both of them had spoken, everyone had already turned their gazes over. At this point, it was already too late for her to back down.

"That's right! If you wish to have a fight with Zhang shi, you'll have to get past me first," Chen Leyao replied coolly.

"Very well. Let me see how powerful your Glacier Plain Court is then!" Harrumphing coldly, Zhang Zhuo's figure vanished with a swift step forward.

His fingers were cupped in a shape reminiscent of a bowl as they crushed down heavily upon Chen Leyao.

This technique was not a battle technique, and it looked incredibly straightforward. However, the instant that his palm fell, the surrounding space was immediately sealed, forcing Chen Leyao to face him head-on.

Facing such a situation, Chen Leyao's eyes narrowed slightly as a hint of panic flashed through her eyes.

With her current fighting prowess, she could only match Zhang Qian. She would have trouble fighting even Zhang Yunfeng, let alone the stronger Zhang Zhuo.

The moment that Zhang Zhuo's palm fell, she immediately felt her zhenqi slowing. Even if she were to gather all of her strength to counterattack, she still would not be able to withstand Zhang Zhuo's attack.

"Move half a step to the left and stab your finger rightward as if a sword."

Just as Chen Leyao was feeling utterly helpless, a voice suddenly sounded calmly by her ears—Zhang Xuan.

I guess I have no other choice…

Seeing that there was no better alternative before her, she slid her feet to the left and pierced her finger forward.

Padah!

Her movements were slight, but it caused Zhang Zhuo's palm strike to miss with a resounding sonic boom. At the same time, her finger also accurately pierced an opening in Zhang Zhuo's offense, catching him off guard for an instant.

It must be a coincidence! Zhang Zhuo thought as he hurriedly retracted his hand and took a step back.

"Left hand, Sword Traversing into the Sea. Right hand, Dragon Soars into the Wilderness!" Zhang Xuan continued issuing instructions.

Just as Chen Leyao was feeling deeply despaired, she saw that she had actually successfully fended off Zhang Zhuo's attack by following Zhang Xuan's instructions. In an instant, confidence filled her heart. Without any hesitation, she continued obeying the latter's instructions, executing a sword art in her left hand and a palm art in her right.

In terms of strength, she was far from comparing to Zhang Zhuo, but through executing the two moves simultaneously, she managed to seal off the latter's attack trajectory, forcing the latter to take up a defensive position.

Zhang Zhuo also could tell that the momentum of the battle was against him at the moment, and a forceful attempt to go on the offensive could only result in him getting injured. Thus, he had no choice but to continue retreating.

"Ursae Majoris Steps, Quenching of the Three Yang!" Zhang Xuan instructed.

Chen Leyao immediately began shuffling her feet, executing the Ursae Majoris Steps. At the same time, her finger tapped forward, seemingly drawing out a triangle in the air, as she drove her zhenqi for the other party's Three Yang Meridians.

These moves were not particularly profound, but they were apt for the current circumstances. It coincidentally sealed off the zhenqi circulation pathway of the next move that Zhang Zhuo was going to execute, leaving him feeling so stifled that he could spurt blood.

Something is very weird here… Zhang Zhuo thought as he leaped backward in alarm.

"What is Zhang Zhuo up to?"

"Chen Leyao's moves should be extremely easy to deal with. Why is he not defending against them, choosing to retreat again and again instead?"

"Extremely easy to deal with? Are you honestly saying those words? Look at where Chen Leyao's finger is pointing! If he attempted to retaliate, his Chihai acupoint would have been struck. If he attempted to charge forth, his Ziyang acupoint would have been kicked. If he attempted to flank from the left, his Huaihai acupoint would have been slammed by her shoulder. If he attempted to flank from the right, he would have been faced with an even more intense barrage of attacks! In such a situation, there's no choice but to retreat!"

"This…"

The battle between the both of them had caught the attention of everyone in the room. Initially, the crowd did not think much of the battle, but as it went on, looks of disbelief gradually began surfacing on their faces.

As fellow offspring of powerful clans, they were well aware of the backgrounds of one another. Under normal circumstances, Chen Leyao should not have been able to withstand three moves from Zhang Zhuo. Yet, at this very moment, she actually managed to corner Zhang Zhuo to the point that he could not even retaliate!

Were Zhang Xuan's pointers really that formidable?

"Interesting!" Leaning against the table, Zhang Yu watched the battle with a fascinated look in his eyes.

Usually, he would not have much interest in battles such as this, but upon seeing such a sight, his gaze could not help but linger on the battle.

For the weak to triumph over the strong, the weak would have to control the flow of battle impeccably, dealing with whatever techniques the strong threw over promptly. To be honest, it was hard for him to believe that Zhang Xuan would be able to allow Chen Leyao to achieve this much just through his pointers.

Deng deng deng deng!

Before everyone's bewildered gazes, Chen Leyao and Zhang Zhuo traded ten more blows, and shockingly, Zhang Zhuo did not even manage to fend off a single one. He kept retreating non-stop, and before long, he was backed against the wall.

"Damn it!" Zhang Zhuo's face turned livid.

This should have been an easy battle for him, but ten moves had passed, and he had not gotten a chance to counterattack yet. The intense frustration made him feel like he was going to explode.

"Since this is the case, don't blame me for not having mercy on you!"

Seeing that there was no longer any path to escape to, Zhang Zhuo narrowed his eyes, and a powerful surge of energy began gushing through his body.

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